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1.  Progesterone Receptor in the Vascular Endothelium Triggers Physiological Uterine Permeability Pre-implantation 
Cell  2014;156(3):549-562.
Vascular permeability is frequently associated with inflammation and triggered by a cohort of secreted permeability factors such as VEGF. Here we show that the physiological vascular permeability that precedes implantation is directly controlled by progesterone receptor (PR) and is independent of VEGF. Both global and endothelial-specific deletion of PR block physiological vascular permeability in the uterus whereas misexpression of PR in the endothelium of other organs results in ectopic vascular leakage. Integration of an endothelial genome-wide transcriptional profile with ChIP-sequencing revealed that PR induces a NR4A1 (Nur77/TR3)-dependent transcriptional program that broadly regulates vascular permeability in response to progesterone. Silencing of NR4A1 blocks PR-mediated permeability responses indicating a direct link between PR and NR4A1. This program triggers concurrent suppression of several junctional proteins and leads to an effective, timely and venous-specific regulation of vascular barrier function that is critical to embryo implantation.
PMCID: PMC3985399  PMID: 24485460
2.  Feedback regulation of cholesterol uptake by the LXR-IDOL-LDLR axis 
Inducible Degrader Of the Low-density lipoprotein receptor (IDOL) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that mediates the ubiquitination and degradation of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR). IDOL expression is controlled at the transcriptional level by the cholesterol-sensing nuclear receptor LXR. In response to rising cellular sterol levels, activated LXR induces IDOL production, thereby limiting further uptake of exogenous cholesterol through the LDLR pathway. The LXR–IDOL–LDLR mechanism for feedback inhibition of cholesterol uptake is independent of and complementary to the SREBP pathway. Since the initial description of the LXR–IDOL pathway, biochemical studies have helped to define the structural basis for both IDOL target recognition and LDLR ubiquitin transfer. Recent work has also suggested links between IDOL and human lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4280256  PMID: 22936343
3.  Resistance to Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice with Synthetic Glyoxylate Shunt 
Cell metabolism  2009;9(6):525-536.
Given the success in engineering synthetic phenotypes in microbes and mammalian cells, constructing non-native pathways in mammals has become increasingly attractive for understanding and identifying potential targets for treating metabolic disorders. Here we introduced the glyoxylate shunt into mouse liver to investigate mammalian fatty acid metabolism. Mice expressing the shunt showed resistance to diet-induced obesity on a high fat diet despite similar food consumption. This was accompanied by a decrease in total fat mass, circulating leptin levels, plasma triglyceride concentration, and a signaling metabolite in liver, malonyl-CoA, that inhibits fatty acid degradation. Contrary to plants and bacteria, in which the glyoxylate shunt prevents the complete oxidation of fatty acids, this pathway when introduced in mice increases fatty acid oxidation such that resistance to diet-induced obesity develops. This work suggests that using non-native pathways in higher organisms to explore and modulate metabolism may be a useful approach.
PMCID: PMC4277884  PMID: 19490907
4.  Palmoplantar keratoderma along with neuromuscular and metabolic phenotypes in Slurp1-deficient mice 
Mutations in SLURP1 cause mal de Meleda, a rare palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK). SLURP1 is a secreted protein that is expressed highly in keratinocytes but has also been identified elsewhere (e.g., spinal cord neurons). Here, we examined Slurp1-deficient mice (Slurp1−/−) created by replacing exon 2 with β-gal and neo cassettes. Slurp1−/− mice developed severe PPK characterized by increased keratinocyte proliferation, an accumulation of lipid droplets in the stratum corneum, and a water barrier defect. In addition, Slurp1−/− mice exhibited reduced adiposity, protection from obesity on a high-fat diet, low plasma lipid levels, and a neuromuscular abnormality (hind limb clasping). Initially, it was unclear whether the metabolic and neuromuscular phenotypes were due to Slurp1 deficiency because we found that the targeted Slurp1 mutation reduced the expression of several neighboring genes (e.g., Slurp2, Lypd2). We therefore created a new line of knockout mice (Slurp1X−/− mice) with a simple nonsense mutation in exon 2. The Slurp1X mutation did not reduce the expression of adjacent genes, but Slurp1X−/− mice exhibited all of the phenotypes observed in the original line of knockout mice. Thus, Slurp1 deficiency in mice elicits metabolic and neuromuscular abnormalities in addition to PPK.
PMCID: PMC4214150  PMID: 24499735
5.  Reciprocal Regulation of Hepatic and Adipose Lipogenesis by Liver X Receptors in Obesity and Insulin Resistance 
Cell metabolism  2013;18(1):106-117.
Liver X receptors (LXRs) regulate lipogenesis and inflammation, but their contribution to the metabolic syndrome is unclear. We show that LXR signaling is required for key aspects of the metabolic syndrome in obese mice. LXRαβ-deficient-ob/ob (LOKO) mice remain obese, but show reduced hepatic steatosis and improved insulin sensitivity compared to ob/ob mice. Impaired hepatic lipogenesis in LOKO mice is accompanied by reciprocal increases in adipose lipid storage, reflecting tissue-selective effects of LXR on the SREBP, PPARγ, and ChREBP lipogenic pathways. LXRs are essential for obesity-driven SREBP-1c and ChREBP activity in liver, but not fat. Furthermore, loss of LXRs in obesity promotes adipose PPARγ and ChREBP-β activity, leading to improved insulin sensitivity. LOKO mice also exhibit defects in beta-cell mass and proliferation despite improved insulin sensitivity. Our data suggest that sterol sensing by LXRs in obesity is critically linked with lipid and glucose homeostasis and provide insight into complex relationships between LXR and insulin signaling.
PMCID: PMC4089509  PMID: 23823481
Nuclear receptor; liver X receptor (LXR); peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR); carbohydrate response element binding protein (ChREBP); insulin resistance; diabetes; obesity; metabolic syndrome; hepatic steatosis; insulin signaling
6.  Lipins, Lipinopathies, and the Modulation of Cellular Lipid Storage and Signaling 
Progress in lipid research  2013;52(3):10.1016/j.plipres.2013.04.001.
Members of the lipin protein family are phosphatidate phosphatase (PAP) enzymes, which catalyze the dephosphorylation of phosphatidic acid to diacylglycerol, the penultimate step in TAG synthesis. Lipins are unique among the glycerolipid biosynthetic enzymes in that they also promote fatty acid oxidation through their activity as co-regulators of gene expression by DNA-bound transcription factors. Lipin function has been evolutionarily conserved from a single ortholog in yeast to the mammalian family of three lipin proteins—lipin-1, lipin-2, and lipin-3. In mice and humans, the levels of lipin activity are a determinant of TAG storage in diverse cell types, and humans with deficiency in lipin-1 or lipin-2 have severe metabolic diseases. Recent work has highlighted the complex physiological interactions between members of the lipin protein family, which exhibit both overlapping and unique functions in specific tissues. The analysis of “lipinopathies” in mouse models and in humans has revealed an important role for lipin activity in the regulation of lipid intermediates (phosphatidate and diacylglycerol), which influence fundamental cellular processes including adipocyte and nerve cell differentiation, adipocyte lipolysis, and hepatic insulin signaling. The elucidation of lipin molecular and physiological functions could lead to novel approaches to modulate cellular lipid storage and metabolic disease.
PMCID: PMC3830937  PMID: 23603613
7.  Leading by example: pastors, mentors, physician-scientists, and the ASCI 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(7):2816-2821.
PMCID: PMC4071402  PMID: 24983420
8.  LXRs regulate ER stress and inflammation through dynamic modulation of membrane phospholipid composition 
Cell metabolism  2013;18(5):685-697.
The fatty acyl composition of phospholipids determines the biophysical character of membranes and impacts the function of membrane proteins. Here we define a nuclear receptor pathway for the dynamic modulation of membrane composition in response to changes in cellular lipid metabolism. Ligand activation of LXR preferentially drives the incorporation of polyunsaturated fatty acids into phospholipids through induction of the remodeling enzyme Lpcat3. Promotion of Lpcat3 activity ameliorates ER stress induced by saturated free fatty acids in vitro or by obesity and hepatic lipid accumulation in vivo. Conversely, Lpcat3 knockdown in liver exacerbates ER stress and inflammation. Mechanistically, Lpcat3 modulates inflammation both by regulating c-Src and JNK kinase activation through changes in membrane composition and by affecting substrate availability for inflammatory mediator production. These results outline an endogenous mechanism for the preservation of membrane homeostasis during lipid stress and identify Lpcat3 as an important mediator of LXRs effects on metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3889491  PMID: 24206663
9.  The Nuclear Receptor LXRα controls the functional specialization of splenic macrophages 
Nature immunology  2013;14(8):831-839.
Macrophages are professional phagocytic cells that orchestrate innate immune responses and display remarkable phenotypic diversity at different anatomical locations. However, the mechanisms that control the heterogeneity of tissue macrophages are not well characterized. Here, we report that the nuclear receptor LXRα is essential for the differentiation of macrophages in the marginal zone (MZ) of the spleen. LXR deficient mice are defective in the generation of MZ and metallophilic macrophages, resulting in abnormal responses to blood-borne antigens. Myeloid specific expression of LXRα or adoptive transfer of wild-type monocytes rescues the MZ microenvironment in LXRα deficient mice. These results demonstrate that LXRα signaling in myeloid cells is crucial for the generation of splenic MZ macrophages and reveal an unprecedented role for a nuclear receptor in the generation of specialized macrophage subsets.
PMCID: PMC3720686  PMID: 23770640
10.  Skeletal muscle Nur77 expression enhances oxidative metabolism and substrate utilization[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2012;53(12):2610-2619.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Identifying novel regulators of mitochondrial bioenergetics will broaden our understanding of regulatory checkpoints that coordinate complex metabolic pathways. We previously showed that Nur77, an orphan nuclear receptor of the NR4A family, regulates the expression of genes linked to glucose utilization. Here we demonstrate that expression of Nur77 in skeletal muscle also enhances mitochondrial function. We generated MCK-Nur77 transgenic mice that express wild-type Nur77 specifically in skeletal muscle. Nur77-overexpressing muscle had increased abundance of oxidative muscle fibers and mitochondrial DNA content. Transgenic muscle also exhibited enhanced oxidative metabolism, suggestive of increased mitochondrial activity. Metabolomic analysis confirmed that Nur77 transgenic muscle favored fatty acid oxidation over glucose oxidation, mimicking the metabolic profile of fasting. Nur77 expression also improved the intrinsic respiratory capacity of isolated mitochondria, likely due to the increased abundance of complex I of the electron transport chain. These changes in mitochondrial metabolism translated to improved muscle contractile function ex vivo and improved cold tolerance in vivo. Our studies outline a novel role for Nur77 in the regulation of oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial activity in skeletal muscle.
PMCID: PMC3494265  PMID: 23028113
Nr4a; nuclear receptor; mitochondria
11.  Adipose subtype–selective recruitment of TLE3 or Prdm16 by PPARγ specifies lipid-storage versus thermogenic gene programs 
Cell metabolism  2013;17(3):423-435.
Transcriptional effectors of white adipocyte-selective gene expression have not been described. Here we show that TLE3 is a white-selective cofactor that acts reciprocally with the brown-selective cofactor Prdm16 to specify lipid storage and thermogenic gene programs. Occupancy of TLE3 and Prdm16 on certain promoters is mutually exclusive, due to the ability of TLE3 to disrupt the physical interaction between Prdm16 and PPARγ. When expressed at elevated levels in brown fat, TLE3 counters Prdm16, suppressing brown-selective genes and inducing white-selective genes, resulting in impaired fatty acid oxidation and thermogenesis. Conversely, mice lacking TLE3 in adipose tissue show enhanced thermogenesis in inguinal white adipose depots and are protected from age-dependent deterioration of brown adipose tissue function. Our results suggest that the establishment of distinct adipocyte phenotypes with different capacities for thermogenesis and lipid storage is accomplished in part through the cell type–selective recruitment of TLE3 or Prdm16 to key adipocyte target genes.
PMCID: PMC3626567  PMID: 23473036
12.  LXRα is uniquely required for maximal reverse cholesterol transport and atheroprotection in ApoE-deficient mice[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2012;53(6):1126-1133.
The liver X receptor (LXR) signaling pathway is an important modulator of atherosclerosis, but the relative importance of the two LXRs in atheroprotection is incompletely understood. We show here that LXRα, the dominant LXR isotype expressed in liver, plays a particularly important role in whole-body sterol homeostasis. In the context of the ApoE−/− background, deletion of LXRα, but not LXRβ, led to prominent increases in atherosclerosis and peripheral cholesterol accumulation. However, combined loss of LXRα and LXRβ on the ApoE−/− background led to an even more severe cholesterol accumulation phenotype compared to LXRα−/−ApoE−/− mice, indicating that LXRβ does contribute to reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) but that this contribution is quantitatively less important than that of LXRα. Unexpectedly, macrophages did not appear to underlie the differential phenotype of LXRα−/−ApoE−/− and LXRβ−/−ApoE−/− mice, as in vitro assays revealed no difference in the efficiency of cholesterol efflux from isolated macrophages. By contrast, in vivo assays of RCT using exogenously labeled macrophages revealed a marked defect in fecal sterol efflux in LXRα−/−ApoE−/− mice. Mechanistically, this defect was linked to a specific requirement for LXRα−/− in the expression of hepatic LXR target genes involved in sterol transport and metabolism. These studies reveal a previously unrecognized requirement for hepatic LXRα for optimal reverse cholesterol transport in mice.
PMCID: PMC3351819  PMID: 22454476
atherosclerosis; nuclear receptor; cholesterol metabolism; apoliporotein
13.  Both K63 and K48 ubiquitin linkages signal lysosomal degradation of the LDL receptor 
Journal of Lipid Research  2013;54(5):1410-1420.
Linkage-specific ubiquitination often leads to distinct cellular events. It has been difficult to establish definitively the requirement for a particular linkage in mammalian degradation pathways due to the inability to deplete endogenous ubiquitin while maintaining cell viability. The E3 ubiquitin ligase inducible degrader of the LDL receptor (IDOL) targets the low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) for degradation. The nature of the linkages employed to signal lysosomal degradation of the LDLR, and to signal proteasomal autodegradation of IDOL, have not been determined. We used an inducible RNAi strategy to replace endogenous ubiquitin with mutants lacking K48 or K63. We found that IDOL catalyzes the transfer of ubiquitin chains to itself and to the LDLR that do not contain exclusively K48 or K63 linkages. Thus, LDLR can be targeted to the lysosome by either K48 or K63 linkages. We further demonstrate that although both ubiquitin conjugating enzyme E2 (UBE2)Ds and UBE2N/V1 can catalyze LDLR ubiquitination in a cell-free system, UBE2Ds appear to be the major E2 enzymes employed by IDOL in cells, consistent with their ability to catalyze both K48 and K63 linkages. The results reveal mechanistic insight into the posttranscriptional control of lipoprotein uptake and provide a test of the requirement of linkage-specific ubiquitination for specific lysosomal and proteasomal degradation pathways in mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC3653405  PMID: 23419260
low density lipoprotein receptor; lysosomal protein degradation; proteasomal protein degradation; E3 ubiquitin ligase
14.  IDOL Stimulates Clathrin-Independent Endocytosis and Multivesicular Body-Mediated Lysosomal Degradation of the Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(8):1503-1514.
The low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) is a critical determinant of plasma cholesterol levels that internalizes lipoprotein cargo via clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Here, we show that the E3 ubiquitin ligase IDOL stimulates a previously unrecognized, clathrin-independent pathway for LDLR internalization. Real-time single-particle tracking and electron microscopy reveal that IDOL is recruited to the plasma membrane by LDLR, promotes LDLR internalization in the absence of clathrin or caveolae, and facilitates LDLR degradation by shuttling it into the multivesicular body (MVB) protein-sorting pathway. The IDOL-dependent degradation pathway is distinct from that mediated by PCSK9 as only IDOL employs ESCRT (endosomal-sorting complex required for transport) complexes to recognize and traffic LDLR to lysosomes. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of ESCRT-0 (HGS) or ESCRT-I (TSG101) components prevents IDOL-mediated LDLR degradation. We further show that USP8 acts downstream of IDOL to deubiquitinate LDLR and that USP8 is required for LDLR entry into the MVB pathway. These results provide key mechanistic insights into an evolutionarily conserved pathway for the control of lipoprotein receptor expression and cellular lipid uptake.
PMCID: PMC3624246  PMID: 23382078
15.  Transcriptional integration of metabolism by the nuclear sterol-activated receptors LXR and FXR 
Nuclear receptors are integrators of hormonal and nutritional signals, mediating changes to metabolic pathways within the body. Given that modulation of lipid and glucose metabolism has been linked to diseases including type 2 diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis, a greater understanding of pathways that regulate metabolism in physiology and disease is crucial. The liver X receptors (LXRs) and the farnesoid X receptors (FXRs) are activated by oxysterols and bile acids, respectively. Mounting evidence indicates that these nuclear receptors have essential roles, not only in the regulation of cholesterol and bile acid metabolism but also in the integration of sterol, fatty acid and glucose metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3597092  PMID: 22414897
16.  Bone marrow NR4A expression is not a dominant factor in the development of atherosclerosis or macrophage polarization in mice[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2013;54(3):806-815.
The formation of the atherosclerotic lesion is a complex process influenced by an array of inflammatory and lipid metabolism pathways. We previously demonstrated that NR4A nuclear receptors are highly induced in macrophages in response to inflammatory stimuli and modulate the expression of genes linked to inflammation in vitro. Here we used mouse genetic models to assess the impact of NR4A expression on atherosclerosis development and macrophage polarization. Transplantation of wild-type, Nur77−/−, or Nor1−/− null hematopoetic precursors into LDL receptor (LDLR)−/− recipient mice led to comparable development of atherosclerotic lesions after high-cholesterol diet. We also observed comparable induction of genes linked to M1 and M2 responses in wild-type and Nur77-null macrophages in response to lipopolysaccharides and interleukin (IL)-4, respectively. In contrast, activation of the nuclear receptor liver X receptor (LXR) strongly suppressed M1 responses, and ablation of signal transductor and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) strongly suppressed M2 responses. Recent studies have suggested that alterations in levels of Ly6Clo monocytes may be a contributor to inflammation and atherosclerosis. In our study, loss of Nur77, but not Nor1, was associated with decreased abundance of Ly6Clo monocytes, but this change was not correlated with atherosclerotic lesion development. Collectively, our results suggest that alterations in the Ly6Clo monocyte population and bone marrow NR4A expression do not play dominant roles in macrophage polarization or the development of atherosclerosis in mice.
PMCID: PMC3617954  PMID: 23288947
Nur77; Ly6C; nuclear receptor
17.  Reciprocal Metabolic Perturbations in the Adipose Tissue and Liver of GPIHBP1-deficient Mice 
Gpihbp1-deficient mice (Gpihbp1−/−) lack the ability to transport lipoprotein lipase to the capillary lumen, resulting in mislocalization of LPL within tissues, defective lipolysis of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, and chylomicronemia. We asked whether GPIHBP1 deficiency and mislocalization of catalytically active LPL would alter the composition of triglycerides in adipose tissue or perturb the expression of lipid biosynthetic genes. We also asked whether perturbations in adipose tissue composition and gene expression, if they occur, would be accompanied by reciprocal metabolic changes in the liver.
Methods and Results
The chylomicronemia in Gpihbp1−/− mice was associated with reduced levels of essential fatty acids in adipose tissue triglycerides and increased expression of lipid biosynthetic genes. The liver exhibited the opposite changes—increased levels of essential fatty acids in triglycerides and reduced expression of lipid biosynthetic genes.
Defective lipolysis in Gpihbp1−/− mice causes reciprocal metabolic perturbations in adipose tissue and liver. In adipose tissue, the essential fatty acid content of triglycerides is reduced and lipid biosynthetic gene expression is increased, while the opposite changes occur in the liver.
PMCID: PMC3281771  PMID: 22173228
lipoprotein lipase; hypertriglyceridemia; lipolysis; essential fatty acids; lipid biosynthetic genes
18.  Vestigial-like 3 is an inhibitor of adipocyte differentiation[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2013;54(2):473-481.
Adipose differentiation is a complex process controlled by a network of transcription factors and co-regulators. We compared the global gene expression patterns of adipogenic and nonadipogenic clones of 3T3-F442A preadipocytes and identified the transcriptional cofactor, vestigial-like 3 (Vgll3), as an inhibitor of adipogenesis. Vgll3 expression is down-regulated during terminal adipocyte differentiation in vitro and negatively correlates with weight and total fat mass in vivo. Furthermore, enforced Vgll3 expression inhibits the differentiation of preadipocytes in vitro, whereas shRNA-mediated knockdown of Vgll3 expression promotes differentiation. Expression of Vgll3 promoted the expression of genes associated with bone and chondrocyte formation, suggesting that Vgll3 participates in the decision of mesenchymal cells to proceed down the adipocyte, bone, or cartilage lineages. The elucidation of factors involved in specification of the adipocyte phenotype may aid in the identification of new strategies for the treatment of metabolic disease.
PMCID: PMC3541706  PMID: 23152581
mesenchymal differentiation; PPAR; lipid metabolism; nuclear receptor
19.  The Number of X Chromosomes Causes Sex Differences in Adiposity in Mice 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(5):e1002709.
Sexual dimorphism in body weight, fat distribution, and metabolic disease has been attributed largely to differential effects of male and female gonadal hormones. Here, we report that the number of X chromosomes within cells also contributes to these sex differences. We employed a unique mouse model, known as the “four core genotypes,” to distinguish between effects of gonadal sex (testes or ovaries) and sex chromosomes (XX or XY). With this model, we produced gonadal male and female mice carrying XX or XY sex chromosome complements. Mice were gonadectomized to remove the acute effects of gonadal hormones and to uncover effects of sex chromosome complement on obesity. Mice with XX sex chromosomes (relative to XY), regardless of their type of gonad, had up to 2-fold increased adiposity and greater food intake during daylight hours, when mice are normally inactive. Mice with two X chromosomes also had accelerated weight gain on a high fat diet and developed fatty liver and elevated lipid and insulin levels. Further genetic studies with mice carrying XO and XXY chromosome complements revealed that the differences between XX and XY mice are attributable to dosage of the X chromosome, rather than effects of the Y chromosome. A subset of genes that escape X chromosome inactivation exhibited higher expression levels in adipose tissue and liver of XX compared to XY mice, and may contribute to the sex differences in obesity. Overall, our study is the first to identify sex chromosome complement, a factor distinguishing all male and female cells, as a cause of sex differences in obesity and metabolism.
Author Summary
Differences exist between men and women in the development of obesity and related metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have focused on the sex-biasing role of hormones produced by male and female gonads, but these cannot account fully for the sex differences in metabolism. We discovered that removal of the gonads uncovers an important genetic determinant of sex differences in obesity—the presence of XX or XY sex chromosomes. We used a novel mouse model to tease apart the effects of male and female gonads from the effects of XX or XY chromosomes. Mice with XX sex chromosomes (relative to XY), regardless of their type of gonad, had increased body fat and ate more food during the sleep period. Mice with two X chromosomes also had accelerated weight gain, fatty liver, and hyperinsulinemia on a high fat diet. The higher expression levels of a subset of genes on the X chromosome that escape inactivation may influence adiposity and metabolic disease. The effect of X chromosome genes is present throughout life, but may become particularly significant with increases in longevity and extension of the period spent with reduced gonadal hormone levels.
PMCID: PMC3349739  PMID: 22589744
20.  An LXR agonist promotes GBM cell death through inhibition of an EGFR/AKT/SREBP-1/LDLR-dependent pathway 
Cancer discovery  2011;1(5):442-456.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant primary brain tumor of adults and one of the most lethal of all cancers. EGFR mutations (EGFRvIII) and PI3K hyperactivation are common in GBM, promoting tumor growth and survival, including through SREBP-1-dependent-lipogenesis. The role of cholesterol metabolism in GBM pathogenesis, its association with EGFR/PI3K signaling, and its potential therapeutic targetability are unknown. Here, studies in GBM cell lines, xenograft models and GBM clinical samples, including from patients treated with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib, uncovered an EGFRvIII-activated, PI3K/SREBP-1-dependent tumor survival pathway through the LDL receptor. Targeting LDLR with the Liver X Receptor (LXR) agonist GW3965 caused IDOL (Inducible Degrader Of LDLR)-mediated LDLR degradation and increased expression of the ABCA1 cholesterol efflux transporter, potently promoting tumor cell death in an in vivo GBM model. These results demonstrate that EGFRvIII can promote tumor survival through PI3K-SREBP-1 dependent up-regulation of LDLR, and suggest a role for LXR agonists in the treatment of GBM patients.
PMCID: PMC3207317  PMID: 22059152
21.  Liver X Receptor Signaling is a Determinant of Stellate Cell Activation and Susceptibility to Fibrotic Liver Disease 
Gastroenterology  2010;140(3):1052-1062.
Background & Aims
Liver X receptors (LXRs) are lipid-activated nuclear receptors with important roles in cholesterol transport, lipogenesis, and anti-inflammatory signaling. Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) activate during chronic liver injury and mediate the fibrotic response. These cells are also major repositories for lipids, but the role of lipid metabolism during stellate cell activation remains unclear. Here we show that LXR signaling is an important determinant of stellate cell activation and susceptibility to fibrotic liver disease.
Immortalized and primary stellate cells purified from mice were treated with highly specific LXR ligands. Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and methionine choline deficiency (MCD) were used as chronic liver injury models. Reciprocal bone marrow transplants were performed to test the importance of hematopoietically-derived cells to the fibrotic response.
LXR ligands suppressed markers of fibrosis and stellate cell activation in primary mouse stellate cells. Lxrαβ −/− stellate cells produce increased levels of inflammatory mediators and conditioned media from Lxrαβ−/− cells increases the fibrogenic program of wild-type cells. Furthermore, Lxrαβ−/− stellate cells exhibit altered lipid morphology and increased expression of fibrogenic genes, suggesting they are primed for activation. In vivo, Lxrαβ−/− mice have marked susceptibility to fibrosis in two injury models. Bone marrow transplants point to altered stellate cell function, rather than hematopoietic cell inflammation, as the primary basis for the Lxrαβ−/− phenotype.
These results reveal an unexpected role for LXR signaling and lipid metabolism in the modulation of hepatic stellate cell function.
PMCID: PMC3049833  PMID: 21134374
Nuclear receptors; LXRs; hepatic stellate cells; liver fibrosis
22.  Coordinate regulation of neutrophil homeostasis by liver X receptors in mice 
The most abundant immune cell type is the neutrophil, a key first responder after pathogen invasion. Neutrophil numbers in the periphery are tightly regulated to prevent opportunistic infections and aberrant inflammation. In healthy individuals, more than 1 × 109 neutrophils per kilogram body weight are released from the bone marrow every 24 hours. To maintain homeostatic levels, an equivalent number of senescent cells must be cleared from circulation. Recent studies indicate that clearance of senescent neutrophils by resident tissue macrophages and DCs helps to set homeostatic levels of neutrophils via effects on the IL-23/IL-17/G-CSF cytokine axis, which stimulates neutrophil production in the bone marrow. However, the molecular events in phagocytes underlying this feedback loop have remained indeterminate. Liver X receptors (LXRs) are members of the nuclear receptor superfamily that regulate both lipid metabolic and inflammatory gene expression. Here, we demonstrate that LXRs contribute to the control of neutrophil homeostasis. Using gain- and loss-of-function models, we found that LXR signaling regulated the efficient clearance of senescent neutrophils by peripheral tissue APCs in a Mer-dependent manner. Furthermore, activation of LXR by engulfed neutrophils directly repressed the IL-23/IL-17/G-CSF granulopoietic cytokine cascade. These results provide mechanistic insight into the molecular events orchestrating neutrophil homeostasis and advance our understanding of LXRs as integrators of phagocyte function, lipid metabolism, and cytokine gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3248291  PMID: 22156197
23.  Cholesterol Intake Modulates Plasma Triglyceride Levels in GPIHBP1-deficient Mice 
Adult GPIHBP1-deficient mice (Gpihbp1−/−) have severe hypertriglyceridemia; however, the plasma triglyceride levels are only mildly elevated during the suckling phase when lipoprotein lipase (Lpl) is expressed at high levels in the liver. Lpl expression in the liver can be induced in adult mice with dietary cholesterol. We therefore hypothesized that plasma triglyceride levels in adult Gpihbp1−/− mice would be sensitive to cholesterol intake.
Methods and Results
After 4–8 weeks on a western diet containing 0.15% cholesterol, plasma triglyceride levels in Gpihbp1−/− mice were 10,000–12,000 mg/dl. When 0.005% ezetimibe was added to the diet to block cholesterol absorption, Lpl expression in the liver was reduced significantly, and the plasma triglyceride levels were significantly higher (>15,000 mg/dl). We also assessed plasma triglyceride levels in Gpihbp1−/− mice fed western diets containing either high (1.3%) or low (0.05%) amounts of cholesterol. The high-cholesterol diet significantly increased Lpl expression in the liver and lowered plasma triglyceride levels.
Treatment of Gpihbp1−/− mice with ezetimibe lowers Lpl expression in the liver and increases plasma triglyceride levels. A high-cholesterol diet had the opposite effects. Thus, cholesterol intake modulates plasma triglyceride levels in Gpihbp1−/− mice.
PMCID: PMC2959134  PMID: 20814015
lipoprotein lipase; chylomicronemia; hypertriglyceridemia; GPIHBP1
24.  TLE3 is a dual function transcriptional coregulator of adipogenesis 
Cell metabolism  2011;13(4):413-427.
PPARγ and Wnt signaling are central positive and negative regulators of adipogenesis, respectively. Here we identify the groucho family member TLE3 as a transcriptional integrator of the PPARγ and Wnt pathways. TLE3 is a direct target of PPARγ that participates in a feed-forward loop during adipocyte differentiation. TLE3 enhances PPARγ activity and functions synergistically with PPARγ on its target promoters to stimulate adipogenesis. At the same time, induction of TLE3 during differentiation provides a mechanism for termination of Wnt signaling. TLE3 antagonizes TCF4 activation by β-catenin in preadipocytes, thereby inhibiting Wnt target gene expression and reversing β-catenin-dependent repression of adipocyte gene expression. Transgenic expression of TLE3 in adipose tissue in vivo mimics the effects of PPARγ agonist and ameliorates high fat diet-induced insulin resistance. Our data suggest that TLE3 acts as a dual function switch, driving the formation of both active and repressive transcriptional complexes that facilitate the adipogenic program.
PMCID: PMC3089971  PMID: 21459326
25.  The N342S MYLIP polymorphism is associated with high total cholesterol and increased LDL receptor degradation in humans 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(8):3062-3071.
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) affects more than 1 in 3 American adults. Hypercholesterolemia is a major treatable risk factor for ASCVD, yet many individuals fail to reach target levels of LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) through the use of statins and lifestyle changes. The E3 ubiquitin ligase myosin regulatory light chain–interacting protein (MYLIP; also known as IDOL) is a recently identified regulator of the LDL receptor (LDLR) pathway. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) in populations of mixed European descent have identified noncoding variants in the MYLIP region as being associated with LDL-C levels, but no underlying functional variants were pinpointed. In order to fine-map actual susceptibility variants, we studied a population demographically distinct from the discovery population to ensure a different pattern of linkage disequilibrium. Our analysis revealed that in a Mexican population, the nonsynonymous SNP rs9370867, which encodes the N342S amino acid substitution, is an underlying functional variant that was associated with high total cholesterol and accounted for one of the previous significant GWAS signals. Functional characterization showed that the Asn-encoding allele was associated with more potent LDLR degradation and decreased LDL uptake. Mutagenesis of residue 342 failed to affect intrinsic MYLIP E3 ligase activity, but it was critical for LDLR targeting. Our findings suggest that modulation of MYLIP activity can affect LDL-C levels and that pharmacologic inhibition of MYLIP activity might be a useful strategy in the treatment of dyslipidemia and ASCVD.
PMCID: PMC3148733  PMID: 21765216

Results 1-25 (55)